Do You Have a Financial Bully in Your Life?

June 30, 2017

Do You Have a Financial Bully in Your Life?

When we think of bullies, we think of children. The ones that pushed and shoved on the playground when we were growing up and the ones that now, unfortunately, taunt and tease using social media.

A bully is defined as a blustering, browbeating person; especially one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable.

Subconsciously, we assume we can spot bullies a mile away as if they wear their bully status on their sleeves. But bullies are not always children, their tactics are not always glaring, and their weapons are not only their hands.

It is possible you have a bully in your life — a financial bully.

What is a Financial Bully?

So what is a financial bully, exactly? It is that person (or persons) in your life who pushes their agenda upon you regardless of the impact it may have on you.

If you’re trying to cut back on your spending or cannot afford something, they don’t care. Financial bullies knowingly try to persuade you to go shopping, eat out, travel, etc. — whatever it is they want to do. They do not have your best interests in mind — they put their own priorities at the forefront and don’t care if it has a negative effect on you.

Their primary weapon is emotion, namely, guilt. They leverage guilt to manipulate you to do what they want you to do, intentionally making you feel bad about your choices. Naturally, financial bullies are controlling, and they are aware of the power they have on you.

Who Can Be a Financial Bully?

Your financial bully is not the 10-year-old on the playground anymore, although, your financial bully very well could be your own offspring. It could be a friend. It could be a co-worker. It could even be sweet, dear, Mom. And most unfortunately, it could be your spouse.

Anyone willing to manipulate you, guilt-trip you, push you, or pout until they get their way, is your financial bully.

And since anyone can be a financial bully, this is a good time for some self-reflection. Could anyone label you as a financial bully?

Before you sputter out, “Of course not,” just think for a moment. Do you make anyone feel bad about their financial choices — regardless of if they’re positive or negative? Do you convince others to do things with their money because it somehow benefits you? If so, you may be bullying someone financially.

How to Deal With the Financial Bullies in Your Life

Okay, so if you’ve got a financial bully, how do you deal with them? How do get them to back down?

Remember, bullies prey on those they perceive to be weaker or vulnerable. So, you treat a financial bully much like the 10-year-old on the playground. You stand up to them. You show that you are a lot stronger than they realize. Until you show strength — mental and physical, if necessary (just kidding), your bully will continue to prey.

Your best weapon is small but powerful — the word “no.” You need to tell your bully no, or else they will never back off. But for your “no” to be effective against your bully, you need first to become comfortable with it yourself. Are you able to tell yourself no? If not, your bully senses that. They know they can convince you to do things because they recognize your lack of discipline and willpower.

Bullies — whether it’s your children or your mother-in-law — are well aware of your threshold for whining, complaining, prodding, and convincing, and are keen to at what point you usually cave in. So build up your ability to say “no,” (and stick to it) by practicing being firm with yourself first. The more you exercise discipline and self-control, the stronger they will be. When you’re able to be firm with yourself, then you can use your powerful weapon on others.

Keep in mind that “No,” is a complete sentence. Financial bullies are good at poking holes in explanations. So limit your reasons and details to the necessary facts.

Related Reading
•   3 Reasons Why You Avoid Facing Your Finances
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•   6 Reasons Your Debt-Free Journey Is Going Nowhere

So, Who is Your Financial Bully?

Now that you know what a financial bully is, who they could potentially be, what they’re capable of, and how to deal with them, consider whether you have one in your life. Also, think about the possibility that you are one (even if you don’t intend to be.)

Make the commitment to stand up to the bully in your life. Remember, the kid on the playground keeps going until someone punches them. So, commit to standing your ground — and to standing up to your bully.

If you are the bully, be aware that your actions, words, and tactics are harmful, and make the decision to drop your bully status today.

Do you have a financial bully in your life? What do they convince you to do, and have you ever attempted to stand up to them?